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Member # 8617

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So, the laptop my employer furnished me with has crapped out and I doubt they'll fix or replace it. The only problem is that I've grown attached to being able to write wherever I go. So, I thought I might buy a replacement. Then I wondered if I might finally have a good reason to buy an ipad. Has anyone here any experience trying to write a short story or a novel on an ipad?
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Member # 9096

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I don't have an ipad, but I love my netbook for writing. It's about the size of a mid-size book, much more easily portable than a laptop (I can fit it in a purse) and it has a decent size keyboard. In fact I've gotten so used to my keyboard, a full size one feels awkward.

It doesn't have enough oomph to play serious games (maybe that's a plus - less time wasted), but it does hold all my writing and I can still spend way too much time surfing the web and watching netflix movies on it.

I know tons of people love ipads, and so I'll be interested in their responses, but you might consider a third choice of a netbook.

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Member # 8329

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I use a small laptop too and love it to death. But when looking around, I think anyone looking for a new machine should consider accessorising. An ipad or a windows-7 tablet with a wireless keyboard might become a formidable laptop competitor: pull out the keyboard for your writing session, then just use the tablet when reading on-the-go.

The other thing to consider is future internet performance. All it takes is a couple of updates to web browsers (or even websites!) and a minimum spec machine begins to really struggle.

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Member # 8108

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I have an iPad and I've had difficulty writing long pieces with it. Obviously it is touch screen so you can't rest your fingers on the keyboard and occasionally it misses a stroke. The nice thing is that it maintains spell-check even when responding to emails or other web posts like this one. I've downloaded Dragon voice recognition onto it (I believe it was free - can't remember), but I haven't tried it out yet. I tell stories much better with my fingers than I do with speech, unless it's something from my own life.

Edited to add: you can get a supplemental keyboard for it.

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited May 29, 2011).]

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Member # 9148

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I use a laptop even though I would use an ipad if I decided I could spend that much money on one.

But while having a write in for NaNo... writing a novel in a month outfit... One of the of the other people had an ipad. He also had a keyboard for it. He said the board didn't cost that much and it was small so he could easily carry both in his small backpack. I believe the keyboard was wireless but I'm not sure now. After he had to show the ipad to a couple of people it took him seconds to set it up.

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Member # 5137

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It's a hard decision right now, that's for certain.

I lean toward ipad. It's VERY portable. Fragile, but there are cases for them. Laptops are fragile too. You can use as an ebook reader (awesome for those of us reading a ton and/or proofing our own work.) iPad is cool because you can read in iBooks or in nook or in kindle (each are free apps you can download.) The Apple app store is stunning in it's breadth and depth - there literally is an app for everything you can think of. I have filled up my ipad with apps only, I have no music and no videos on it, but it's full! (Kids and i play a LOT of games...)

I use an app called Penultimate, which I use with a capacitive pen (can't use a stylus like palm pilots because the touch screen is conducive, so you need a special pen to be able to touch) - I like it a lot for free writing in a notebook-style thing.

I also have a bluetooth keyboard case for my iPad (yes, you could go broke on all the accessories, I recommend buying as much memory as you can afford so you don't run out of space like I do, but leaving off the 3G plan and sticking with wifi - that way if you're out and have time for writing, you're not conflicted by whether you should also surf. Answer is no unless you're at a place with a free wifi hotspot. Luckily the softball fields where I have to wait while DD practices are NOT wifi enabled, lol.

I got the bluetooth case from thinkgeek because I really don't enjoy typing on the screen. I'm a touch-typist, extremely fast (regular speed is 80 wpm, not breaking a sweat. I can go faster...) It's super annoying to try to type on the screen, so I don't - I do a two fingered peck when I don't have the keyboard on, but since one of the main things I use the iPad for is checking email before bed and checking email in the morning while getting ready, it's super handy to be able to jet off a quick reply to someone from the bluetooth keyboard rather than two-fingered pecking it out.

The bluetooth keyboards are not what I'd recommend to someone using it as a writing station, though. I'd suggest investing in the Apple bluetooth keyboard, which is hands-down the best typing experience I have ever ever ever ever had. I've been touch-typing since I was 8...I've typed on a LOT of keyboards in my life, including those old funky ergonomic ones that split into two so you could curve them this way and that. Nope, the apple designers are clearly fast typists, too, and designed the best keyboard on the planet.

One of the many things I love about the iPad is the "instant on" capability. While netbooks use flash memory and thus are doing less "read into memory" stuff when they first boot, they're still running a major operating system designed for all kinds of things netbooks don't need to do. The iPad OS is designed to maximize the experience on the iPad. Period. It does an excellent job at it's main task. Instant on is fanfreakingstastic when you've suddenly had an idea hit you and you want to write it down quick before you forget.

An iPad + apple bluetooth keyboard would be a little smaller and lighter weight than a netbook, I believe. And because of its design that is a single page, not a flip-up-to-open/start, i find that it's so much simpler to just pop open the case on the ipad and press the button to look something up, when I have a laptop a mere step away too.

I am clearly in love with my iPad, which is true I admit, but it's also a really interesting question. I'm debating this very same question for my soon-to-be-middle-schooler for the next school year, as he can/should have a laptop of some sort (horrible handwriting and very slow...) -- should I just give him my iPad + bluetooth keyboard case (which is heavily padded) and then get myself an iPad2? Or should we go with a netbook, we're still on the fence...

Good luck either way!

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Member # 5512

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Wherever I go, I have a backpack with a notebook and a pen inside. That's my portable writing equipment. :P
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Robert Nowall
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When I get away from it all, "it all" includes the computer I have. I don't have a laptop or iPad or any kind of electronic gizmo that I could write on...I take a portable typewriter on trips, but in the last several I haven't even used that.

(I'm considering a Nook or a Kindle, and something like that, I might take with me...I'm considering a laptop, if I can get one I could plug into my big TV and watch YouTube videos through...)

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Member # 7852

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I am partial to my laptop. Its with me 90% of the time. Having to carry a briefcase back and forth to work. First thing I do is set it up on my desk when I get in. I feel lost without it.

I carry the basics in it, word for writing, database for those submission graphs, kindle on pc for reading, ywriter for novel writing, speech recognition.

Never leave home without it.

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Member # 8547

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I'm a big fan of my MacBook Pro. First laptop I've ever really owned and so far it's done everything I need it to, even games. Only a bit bigger than an ipad and also built very sturdy.
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Member # 9381

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Laptop. When I am typing a work, while I think I tend to rest my fingers on the keyboard. Even tapping them lightly while I think. Touch screens don't work for that.

Not to mention I HATE Apple products so I have refused to fall victim to paying more to have an i placed in front of the product name.

But I don't think I could use a tablet to write even if I get an android tablet.

I still use a full size PC for games, but I do everything else on my laptop (with the exception of some web browsing on my phone).

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Member # 9183

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Thanks a lot @Kayti

I didn't know I wanted an ipad until I read your post. Good thing is my birthday just passed, so I should be able to stave off this desire.

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Member # 9196

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I just picked up an iPad, and I'm loving it. That said, I'll be sticking with my smallish laptop for writing for now.

I am seriously considering the idea of getting a bluetooth keyboard for the iPad so I can do some writing on it. I keep all my work on my FTP server, so I'd need to jailbreak the thing to access the ftp functions I believe.

I'm actually surprised at how quickly I can type on the iPad, even without a keyboard. So it might be something for you to try out.

I'd also like to mention, if you do go for the iPad, my brother had both iPad and iPad 2, and ended up returning the iPad 2. He said it isn't much faster, or much lighter, and the cameras it comes with have very poor image quality. So I suggest saving some money and getting the iPad 1.

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited May 30, 2011).]

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Member # 6757

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I write a fair bit with a folding blue tooth keyboard and an iphone with docs to go.
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Member # 1818

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I have an iPad, and I wouldn't recommend it for writing. It is compatible with whatever else you want it to be (microsoft office, whatever), but not particularly easily so. Printing off of the iPad is a chore. The word processors are not fully functional versions of what you use on your computer, so you can write, but going back to make edits and stuff is kind of annoying. I would pick up a cheap laptop before an iPad if writing is what you want to use it for.
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Member # 5682

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You're replacing a laptop with another laptop or an iPad. So, are there any applications on your old laptop that you can't live without, but can't get on an iPad?

For example, I *must* have photoshop. Yeah, you can get some photo-editing programs for iPhones and iPads (same OS), but it's not photoshop by a long measure (3rd-party plug-ins and advanced printer support, etc.) I could name several other apps I'd have to give up for an iPad. Are you in that situation? iPads are *very* pretty, but how will *you* use your one device?

Another consideration: I have more money invested in software than the cost of my laptops or an iPad. That's a consideration if you must choose one or the other gadget.

[This message has been edited by WouldBe (edited May 31, 2011).]

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Member # 5137

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Just to clarify - I heard in babooher's note a desire to replace what was essentially an extra writing station (work computer) with something else portable - that definitely leans me out into the iPad territory (and lol @wordcaster, sorry about that. Really is one of the coolest devices I've ever had and I'm a geek and have had a lot of devices in my day...)

I wouldn't use the ipad as a primary writing station, at least for me I need the tools on my main computer and the big screen and whatnot to do so, but as a portable writing station...it's pretty sweet. I've written 4 novels on various assemblies of infrared keyboards and palm pilots and teeny ultra-portable laptops and the like. The high-portability of those smaller forms made it easy for me to always have my writing station with me, and thus I wrote more. Edits take place on a more permanent machine, but for me at least, getting that first draft down on a writing station that is not a laptop seems to unstick part of my brain.

Also FYI you can buy the program "Pages" for the iPad for about $10, it's a very good mac-based word processor.

But either way, good luck in the decision-making process. I've heard rumors of an iPad3 out by the holidays...have my eye on that for now.

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Member # 8617

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Thanks for all the great feedback. Are there compatability issues going from Pages to say Word?
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Member # 6517

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My 6 year old laptop is still going strong, but I'm already researching replacements for when it finally dies. (or I push it off a cliff) Like you, I am torn between laptops, netbooks, and tablets.

My choice of the week is the Asus EEE Transformer. It is an Android based tablet, which is good for me as I prefer Android to iOS. It's stats are pretty identical to the iPad, but it also has an optional docking station with keyboard that turns the tablet into a 10.1" netbook and doubles the battery life. It's only been out a month or so, so the jury is out on how well it holds up and although the tablet itself is a little cheaper than an iPad2, when you add in the keyboard docking station you're looking at $550-600.

Here's a pretty in-depth review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4277/asus-eee-pad-transformer-review

With that said, you can always get a cheap older laptop and install Ubuntu. When I couldn't afford a new laptop last year I spent $30 on a new battery, installed Ubuntu, and it's like a new system again.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

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Member # 8140

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I think a laptop tablet is probably the next wave of devices that'll take off. As computing power and battery life increases, you'll see more hybrids like the Lenovo IdeaPad U1.


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Member # 8501

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Being the old guy that I am, I love to work on a 22" screen. That will fit four iPad's. I use a MacBook Pro, but type on a wireless keyboard and use a Magic Mouse (I like that mouse, like KayTi likes the bluetooth keyboard).

I would love to have an iPad, but a regular keyboard and big screen are so much easier to work with. However I would think that if you can download big files or break a novel into parts, that editing on an iPad where ever you were would be stupendous.

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